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May 9, 2014

Las Vegas -- Simpson Strong-Tie is reaching out to the DIY customer with easy-to-assemble work bench kits and also ideas to empower the typical homeowner. 

Here at the National Hardware Show, the Pleasanton, California-based fastener giant was displaying its DIY Done Right boxed kit work bench, as well as DIY-focused brochures and marketing materials to help connect retailers with consumers.

May 8, 2014

Las Vegas -- Do it Best CEO Bob Taylor offered a dose of industry optimism during the Presidents Council lunch event here during the National Hardware Show. 

Taylor, who reminisced briefly about his childhood trips to the National Hardware Show with his father, said it was encouraging to see "renewed growth" at the show. 

May 8, 2014

Las Vegas -- Day two of the National Hardware Show continued with a decidedly more patriotic bent than Tuesday's globally minded theme, with an All-American Awards ceremony and a first-ever dedicated section on the show floor to Made-in-USA products, where over 125 companies were represented.

The NRHA Stage was also the site of several presentations regarding the current home buyer climate in the United States.

May 8, 2014

New York City-based General Tools & Instruments is beginning a new chapter in its colorful (black and yellow) history.

The company was acquired by New York City-based investment firm Highroad Capital Partners in February. Terms of the deal were not released. But in an interview with HCN at the National Hardware Show, principals from Highroad Capital said they liked what they saw in the tool company, and vice versa. 

May 7, 2014

Las Vegas -- The independent retailer and the family business were celebrated last night at the 30th Golden Hammer Awards ceremony.

Poolside at the LVH-Las Vegas Casino, hundreds of retailers and vendors mingled, the band (Voodoo Cowboys) played, and three industry leaders expressed gratitude and humility upon receiving Golden Hammers.

(View slide show here.)

May 6, 2014

Las Vegas -- Keynote speaker Mark Herbek, of Cleveland Research Company, took the NRHA stage here at the National Hardware Show just moments after the grand-opening ceremony concluded. His message to the home improvement industry: Get on board with e-commerce. And the sooner, the better.

In a presentation titled "Preparing For and Participating in the Accelerating E-Commerce Shift -- What it Takes to Win," Herbek went over the facts and figures related to the economic downturn and spelled out the rapidly increasing opportunities presented by online shopping.

May 6, 2014

Las Vegas -- The 2014 National Hardware Show is running on themes. 

The May 6-8 event at the Las Vegas Convention Center has identified daily themes to highlight the biggest industry trends -- today’s theme: “The World of Home Improvement,” which will celebrate international exhibitors. The theme for Wednesday is “Made in USA.” Thursday’s theme is “Innovation Day.”

May 6, 2014

Las Vegas -- Weathering the storm of the digital revolution has been a major focal point here at the National Hardware Show thus far, where opting out is hardly on the table. Especially driving this point home were FunMobility's Pat Murphy; Linda Roark of Pete's Ace Hardware in Castro, California; and Jodie Larson of Brentwood Ace Hardware.

In a seminar titled "Using Mobile to Drive Real Business Results," the three discussed their own successes with FunMobility's mobile marketing campaign and the importance of the smartphone in today's retail landscape.

May 2, 2014

In an interview with homechannelnews.com, Scott Humphrey, the CEO of the World Floor Covering Association, described some of the keys to success for the independent flooring retailer. 

“Perseverance, creativity and diversification are gigantic for the independent retailer,” Humphrey said. “It’s important to understand the things that got you where you are today, aren’t necessarily going to keep you there.”

April 10, 2014

Orlando, Fla. -- James Gillula said he expects the United States unemployment rate to fall below 6.5% by mid-year. He cautioned that a slowdown in China could impact the U.S. economy. And he expects the home improvement industry to recoup pretty much all of its weather-related losses from the hash winter.

Those were some of the macroeconomic ideas supplied by Gillula during the 2014 Home Improvement Research Institute Spring Conference held here April 10. 

April 10, 2014

Orlando, Fla. -- Here at the 2014 Home Improvement Research Institute (HIRI) Spring Conference, Sarah Catlett, VP of The Futures Company, took a high-level, continental look at consumer marketing.

Catlett kicked off the HIRI conference with a quick look at Target's disappointing venture into Canada. The Minnesota-based retailer's efforts to change the way Canadians shop has fallen short, she said, partly because the company missed consumer and cultural cues. 

April 1, 2014

Arlington, Va. -- In a hotel conference room here filled with pro dealers about to make their lobbying rounds on Capitol Hill, the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association's Jonathan Paine and Ben Gann rallied the troops.

March 31, 2014

Arlington, Va. -- Three operators of successful and growing lumberyards put their fingers on the pulse of the LBM industry and offered a prognosis for opportunities and challenges.

March 10, 2014

Cologne, Germany -- John Herbert has a front row seat on the global home-improvement retailing scene. The former president of EXPO Design Center West Coast (USA) and the current general secretary of the European DIY-Retail Association, Herbert identified six major changes facing retailers in 2014.

March 10, 2014

Cologne, Germany -- European economists have a new phrase to describe their expectations for future growth. Out of fashion is "cautiously optimistic." In fashion is "moderately positive, but wobbly."

March 7, 2014

Orlando, Fla. -- During its Spring Dealer Market hear, Orgill expanded its show floor to more than 750,000 sq. ft., including multiple model stores and a showcase area that introduced a new vivid Solutions paint area and a “Backyard Oasis” featuring outdoor living ideas.

Organizers said thousands of retailers from the United States, Canada and all over the world took part in the market, which drew to a close March 1.

February 25, 2014

Atlanta -- True Value Co.'s Special Order App for mobile devices is putting more power into the hands of retailers, according to the co-op.

What began as a concept about 18 months ago, the True Value mobile ordering app is now in its sixth month of operation. It's in use at about 1,800 retailers making thousands of orders, said Rosalee Hermens, VP and chief information officer for True Value. 

February 10, 2014

Las Vegas -- They are arguably the world's first mobile apps, not counting the abacus. And yet, handheld calculators are showing no signs of disappearing from the job site.

In fact, Calculated Industries, makers of the Construction Master Pro handheld calculator, is adding (some would say multiplying) to its product offering to appeal to new users and old. 

February 7, 2014

Led by a resurgence in single-family production, housing will continue its climb toward higher ground in 2014, but builders are still confronting several challenges that could hinder the pace of the ongoing recovery, according to economists speaking at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builders' Show (IBS) in Las Vegas.

February 7, 2014

Las Vegas -- At last year’s International Builders’ Show, industry economists from the builders’ biggest trade group looked into their crystal balls and made forecasts for housing starts.

How did they do? Short answer: Not bad.

A little more than a year ago, HCN reported the housing start forecast from National Association of Home Builders chief economist David Crowe. Here’s how it stacked up with time and reality:

Total housing starts

February 5, 2014

Las Vegas -- While Eastman discontinued its decking entrant called Perennial Wood, the company says it's in full-steam-ahead mode in the building and construction material industry. 

February 5, 2014

Las Vegas -- One speaker at the President's Council Advisory Board meeting here during the International Builders' Show explained that "we're not in full panic mode," anymore. Another pointed to a 32% increased in single-family home starts for 2014. 

But what are the challenges that might slow the industry’s growth trajectory?

February 5, 2014

Las Vegas -- Weyerhaeuser CEO Doyle Simons says he's encouraged by the recovery in the home-building  and LBM industries. But it's too early celebrate. 

In an interview with HCN in the Weyerhaeuser booth at the International Builders' Show here, Simons also talked about the importance of product innovation and market education.

January 15, 2014

St. Paul, Minn.-based Seven Corners Hardware, which has served hobbyists, homeowners, contractors and other DIY-oriented customers in the Twin Cities and beyond since 1933, will be closing its doors as a result of a real estate deal, said third-generation owner Bill Walsh, whose father and grandfather previously ran the store.

The company retained Tiger Capital Group to direct the sale of its merchandise inventories and other assets. 

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